POE PANEL TAKES UP TRAFFIC PLAN ANEW IN TALKS ON OCT. 2

The Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe is set to conduct on Oct. 2 its third technical working group (TWG) meeting on the government's transportation roadmap to address the traffic crisis in Mega Manila.

Poe said 3Ps should be in place before the passage of a law on traffic.

"These can be summed up as PPP--plano, pondo at pagsisiyasat," she stressed during her committee's second TWG on Monday.

"Kailangan ng kongkretong plano na may timeline at deadlines. Dapat may listahan ng mga proyekto at ng katumbas na pondo. At dapat bukas sa pagsisiyasat ng publiko. To these three conditions, I would like to add, pakikinig sa mga commuters," Poe said.

The senator underscored the need for the government to conduct thorough consultations with affected transport and commuter groups before coming up with the master plan.

"Consultation is intertwined with the people's right to information on matters of public concern. Sino pa ba ang pinakaapektado ng matinding traffic sa Maynila kung hindi ang mga commuters?" Poe pointed out.

"The voice of the commuter is the voice of the people. In the same way that mapmakers go to the plains to study the mountains, so should transport planners learn from the wisdom of the streets. Mas magkakaroon tayo ng solusyon kung maayos ang pag-uusap natin," Poe added.

Meanwhile, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Road and Transport Infrastructure Mark Richmund de Leon clarified that the department is no longer pushing for emergency powers to expedite the implementation of the agency's transport roadmap.

De Leon made the statement when asked by lawyer Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and one of the invited stakeholders, to clarify the DOTr's definite position on its request for emergency powers.

"We actually received a message from Secretary Tugade that he echoes that statement of the President that he will no longer seek for emergency powers," De Leon said.

Poe said she looks forward to the inputs of the resource persons during the TWG in crafting a bill that will fix the traffic mess in Mega Manila.

"Not everything is legislated. At times, you just need to bring people together...It might not be emergency powers, it can be just a traffic solution," Poe said during the TWG meeting.

The TWG was attended by urban planners, transportation experts, various commuter groups, and representatives from the DOTr.

During the meeting, groups representing commuters and motorists stressed the need for better mass transportation as a way to ease the gridlock.

Side-by-side, they said the master plan should also incorporate provision lanes and parking spaces for bicycles; smart and well-made walkways; an intelligent transportation system; and more parking buildings to declog streets.

The participants said development plans of cities should put premium on the mobility of people to spur productivity and growth.

Source: Senate of the Philippines